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Am I being naive about pre-school / nursery

I've just had a look around a pre-school /nursery and I am so disappointed. I'd just like to hear your opinions and what goes on where you are.

It really looked like a stay n play type of thing. Children running around everywhere and just playing at lots of different things alone. They apparently have a 'story time' and play around the weeks theme 'bob the builder this week'.... Anyway it looked like fun but I want zachariah to go somewhere where he will learn things. He's already so behind that I feel this just isn't right....

Am I being completely naive? Do they not learn anything useful until 5+? is learning about numbers/letters/colours for example solely a parental responsibility and school don't even attempt to do basic things like this or was it just a rubbish place I viewed? .... I'm sure the one we had originally picked out for z before moving had a little more intellectual capacity to it? He needs help not playdates?


  • I've can only really comment on what I know... At B's pre-school they have different areas - dressing up/reading/shapes (they have lots of different shapes and colours and they have to put them in the right boxes)/water play/sand/story area/painting/outdoor play (cars/bikes/water/sand/play houses)/at the moment they have an 'estate agents' but that changes to hairdressers and various shops/ they regularly do cooking with them as well as making cards and presents. They get the children to practise writing their name (though B hasn't got there yet!) At the begining and end of each session they have story time where they all have to sit down and they listen to a story as well as singing nursery rhymes. Their aim at the pre-school is to provide a fun, safe environment for the children, where they can learn basic things but when the kids are 3 I think it's more about learning through play - even the foundation class do less 'structured learning' than they used to. Holly is probably the best one to ask about it. Sorry I can be more helpful x
  • I work at a pre school, and at ours we have different areas that the children can go to and explore. We have a book corner which is also the quiet corner, and the children always ask one of us to read them stories. Everyday we have different toys and activities out.

    When the children come in they have to find their own coat pegs (which have a little picture of them on) then they find their own chairs, where they sit and do the register, then we do days of the weeks, months of the year and talk about the weather. We make sure each child knows their numbers and their colours, as well as having fun. At the end of the day we sing songs. Hope this helps you on what to look for
  • I can only comment on scottish nurseries but they all follow a pre-school curriculum and have learning outcomes for all the children. The state-run nurseries should be able to say what areas of the curriculum they are focusing on and how your child is doing in each of these areas. Good nurseries won't be run like classrooms but the curricular activities are hidden in the play. They all have 'grouptime' which is when the learning is more structured and is, for example, table-based with keyworkers.
  • At G's preschool nursery they have three separate rooms and have different areas set out in each, exploring different things. It all looks great fun! They also do learning tasks, such a colours, shapes, letters numbers etc but the most of this is done in their actual preschool year, ie from Sept for G. But G has attempted her name and looking through her file, she can do lots of colour and shape matching activities etc. They also have an outside play area and make use of the local park for outdoor play too.

    I am very pleased with our nursery and will be sad when G leaves!
  • Ok thanks all, I guess it's normal then. I guess I'm worrying as I've been told everywhere is full except here and I can't helP but think why!?! :roll:

    I'm going to check a few others just for comParison but at least I can go in knOwing it's meant to be complete madness lol!- as lOng as he's happy and not left in a corner I guess image

    Em does bryn get one on one support? - I'm trying to get this for z ATM and a statementing. Feel free to pm me if you don't want it On here
  • They get extra funding for an hour a day (mainly so someone can sit down with him at lunchtime as he doesn't want to sit and eat), but apart from that, no he doesn't. He isn't statemented yet as they want to leave that until just before he goes to school. He does get specialists going into the preschool to work with him on a regualar basis though.

  • hi love! well i do think nursery and preschool slightly different o=so depends what you looked at - the ones in the 3 year old preschool part of nursery will do same curriculam as a place that is just a playschool.. i found when looked around that at nursery i would have had fin go instead of using childminder so would have bunched my funded spaces together over 2 days so then i found that it was structured to a point but also had free play etc... in the end i chose to keep at childminder with mason and he goes to a playschool that just do morning session for the older ones and afternoon for younger ones and it does seem slightly manic... i drop off and put bags etc on hook then they go a chair with there name (this is starting to learn what name looks like) and also just the fact of learning to listen to a (teacher type person) etc... from what i gather they do a bit of sing, discuss a topic and then go off to little sections and do free play, drawing, playdough, sand/water, think it changes each week what they put out for these sessions... at the moment they are doing model making so all took boxes in etc and they have been making things... also chinese new year and made a lanten and dragon... fin loves this! i think this first year of preschool is more just them getting used to environment listenen to instructions having fun and learning to socialise etc.. follwing year before school think bit more on numbers, names, colours.... I THINK NOT 100%

    I have to say that the childminder does teach aswell in a fun play way, colours, learning his name so she did it big on paper, pit a photo of him, then favcolour, food etc and its on her wall... he learnt the other day F is for finlay...!!!


  • This is a tricky one I'd say. If the children were enjoying themselves and involved in free play and they could choose what they could do but they were occupied, then this is probably a normal part of a day in any preschool. other parts might include structured play, singing, group time, outside play all geared toward fun learning( or learning through play) and you just picked a different time to go. if all the children were happy and occupied it sounds like a good preschool. If they were just running round wildly it doesn't sound so great.

    As for the support worker it will depend on Z's needs. I was employed as a key worker for a special needs child so i was in addition to the other members of staff and there purely for this boy. However it didn't mean I worked one to one with him all the time I was just there if he needed it and he benefited by able to do things himself within his own limits, not mine, if you see what I mean. Any preschool should adapt to the needs of the individual child anyway. I know n has had days when he's needed extra comfort because he's had a clingy day or whatever and I know that's completely different but that's what he needs and thats what he's got.

    All preschools should follow the early years foundation stage guidelines (eyfs) and so should all childminders. If you can find a specialist childminder you can use your funded sessions for Z with her.

    Go with the one wher you and Z feel comfortable. Good luck xx
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